Published on May 9th, 2012 | by Charu Suri3
Five Reasons to Visit Macau Now: Island Builds Largest Sheraton in the World
When I visited the tiny island last October (it is only 30 square km, after all), I didn’t expect to fall in love with the ying-yang of it all. On the one hand, Macau is definitely about the glitz and glam. It’s a bit like Disney for casino and hotel lovers, and yes, I truly felt as though I was in Epcot Center when I visited.
But that’s not why you need to visit Macau now. The island is experiencing such a boom in growth, with worldwide visitor arrivals in 2011 well over 28 million. Most of the visitors are from mainland China, but the U.S. is the primary long haul source of visitors to the island.
There are so many reasons to visit Macau, especially now. Here are a few.
Plenty of room at the Inn: The accommodations are expanding to manage the demand, and currently there are 65 hotels and 32 guesthouses in Macau (23,222 rooms). So, does this mean you can expect to find bargains when you visit Macau? It depends on what you mean by “bargain.” Yes, there are inexpensive options such as monasteries and guest houses.
The Biggest Holiday Inn and Sheraton in the World: The new Sheraton Hotel in Macau will open in 2013 in the Cotai section area of Macau, and will be the largest Starwood property in the world. Not that we’re suggesting to go to Macau just to stay at the largest Sheraton in the world, but it gives you an idea of the size of the demand.
Learn Your Portuguese History: While it may not be obvious, Macau has Portuguese cultural roots that date back 1558 when Portuguese trading was finally permitted on the island. From the Maritime Museum to the UNESCO World Heritage Site The Ruins of Saint Paul, there are places everywhere for you to get a wee bit of knowledge about Macau’s rich heritage.
Spas and Shopping: When I visited, I enjoyed what may well be my most luxurious massage, at the Banyan Tree Spa. In fact, I’d even venture to say it’s worth flying to Macau to experience this royal experience. My massage lasted well over an hour, in a large suite that resembled a house with private patio, and culminated in a fragrant tea service.
Dining: I had a terrific experience –food-wise–while I was there. You may remember that I savored a beautiful tea ceremony at the Hotel Okura. Macau is a gem when it comes to discovering Portuguese food, and of course, sampling various types of food from China and nearby Asian countries.
Luxe for the Eyes: The elegant lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel, with Dale Chihuly’s work above and a Salvador Dali statue.
The beautiful St. Dominic Filipino-style church near Senado Square. Notice the ceramic mosaic flooring which is itself a swirly work of art.
A quiet street in the Peninsula area of Macau.